Category: Press Release

ARC Bemoans Construction Imports

ARC Manufacturing is lobbying the Government to curb the influx of construction items being imported.

Speaking recently during Jamaica Observer’s Design Week, senior managers at the company lamented that the local market is saturated with cheap imports taking away a huge share of the business.

General manager for sales and marketing Devon Brooks told the Jamaica Observer that the situation has progressively worsened and poses serious threats to construction workers in the island.

“We’re apart of Caricom and as a member state there are certain benefits that should obtain being in a single market. We realise that there’s dumping of certain items in our industry and market, nails are one of them. We have importation of Chinese and Dominican Republic nails on the market and the truth is when you look at quality of the product, it’s night and day,” Brooks argued.

He said “nails are very light items but you can feel the difference when you lift them up. When you hit one of our nails the likelihood of it bending is near impossible, when you use one of the imported nails— and workmen are using it — the nails are flying all over the place. We’ve seen reports of persons being injured because we have those inferior products coming on the market and it’s selling because of the price points.”

He explained that in most cases the importers are able to sell at a third of the price which makes it hard for his company to compete, although he maintains that ARC sells high quality products at affordable prices.

In fact, investigations conducted by the Business Observer revealed that some imported construction items are more expensive compared with ARC prices.

For example, a pound of 4-inch galvanised nail on the market is going for $359, the same item at ARC Manufacturing costs $290 per pound.

With this in mind, Brooks said the company is simply asking for some order in the market. He said right now it appears to be a free for all.

“The Government needs to have more bilateral agreements with the partnering countries. When you look at other countries they have their individual bilateral agreements with different states outside of the Caricom arrangement, we need to have our own agreements,” he stated.

He emphasised that ARC is creating jobs for Jamaicans and that should be factored into the decisions which are made in the industry.

Devon Brooks – General Manager of Sales at ARC Manufacturing Limited.

“As manufacturers we contribute to the employment of Jamaicans and we believe that the Jamaican Government should try its very best. We have to do far more protecting manufacturers in Jamaica,” Brooks argued.

Nevertheless, the company is pressing ahead with plans to expand its retail space on Bell Road in St Andrew. Brooks is hopeful the new space will allow ARC to scrape back some of the market share it’s lost to imports.

“Initially we occupied a very small space 5,000 sq ft, we are planning on expanding and modernise the entire area so that our customer base can grow,” he said.

“We’re doing it to ensure that we support all our customer base, our contractors and developers. That store will facilitate their kind of business where we have our sales reps going to the various trade shows, bringing the latest in technology and the latest in creative ideas,” he continued.

He told the Business Observer that the expanded retail space should be completed within a year.

“We’re kinda keeping it very close to our heart because we want to plan a nice grand opening but we are in execution mode and whatever we execute is within a twelve month period. We’re not about this lengthy delay and planning. We plan quickly, accurately, we bring all the stakeholders to the table to ensure that we have flawless and quick execution. So in no time you’ll be able to come and walk the floors of the store,” Brooks stated.

Published by the Jamaica Observer.

Horace Pennant ‘Nailing It’ with Chosen Profession

From watching his father in action as a supervisor in the engineering department at the National Water Commission (NWC), Horace Pennant knew he wanted to be in a profession that involved working with his hands. 

His first job as he entered adulthood involved working alongside his father but he left the working environment as he craved to do more.

“I was working on a spray foam machine after I left NWC and even though I found favour in it, a doctor told me that the chemical I was using, me did haffi hop out of it because after a time me would a get cancer. So I left it and I was at home, not doing anything and someone introduced me to ARC Manufacturing say dem employing workers. I get the work as a machine operator in the nail department and I didn’t even know say nail make out here,” Pennant joked.

The Grove Road, St Andrew, native has since found his niche working at the manufacturing company for more than a decade, where he is the supervisor of the nail plant. His current position is one he ascended to two years after he started working at the company. He reminisced on his first day on the job, where he learnt the key steps of making common wire nails. Pennant spent two weeks in training, familiarising himself with the nail making machine and getting acquainted with the sophisticated and delicate process of making nails. 

“The simple version of making nails depends on the size nails that you want. So we make from one-inch to six-inch nail. It’s 10 different sizes of nail. Say you want to make a two-and-a-half-inch nail, you take the wire and it draw to that size of the nail and you load it on to the sieve. It’s like a needle and thread, you string it up and start to sew. The machine does everything, make the head, the point, cut it and we just full it from the point,” he explained. Once that process is completed, the nails are placed in a tumbler to be cleaned and quality checked, and then they are packaged for local sale or export.

Decked in his hard hat, reflector vest and steel toe boots, the 54-year-old has the daily task of leading a team of 25 highly trained workers in the production of nails and managing the nail inventory. The father of four shared that he remains dedicated to his job because of his peers and his family, knowing that he is motivating another generation of technicians. In addition to the on the job training he has received, Pennant is a certified machine and forklift operator, having completed courses administered by the HEART/NSTA Trust.

Pennant, who is a past student of Wolmer’s Boys’ School and St Joseph’s High told THE STAR that nail production requires one to pay keen attention to details, adhere to safety protocols, be an exemplary leader and a good listener, and to have patience.

“I don’t think I would ever leave this job for another job. I see room here to grow and I have learnt a lot to the point where I can teach others” Pennant said.

Published by The Star.

ARC to Increase Retail Space Fivefold

Construction materials company ARC Manufacturing Limited is adding five times more retail space for customers looking to purchase items for home improvement projects.

The upgrade, aimed at improving retail consumers’ overall shopping experience, expands on ARC Manufacturing’s plan to modernize and improve efficiencies at its 14 Bell Road complex. The company has already begun work on upgrading a 70,000-square-foot warehouse on the property which, on completion, will see the implementation of an automated crane system that will result in minimised use of forklifts.

Up to 2011, ARC Manufacturing’s business solely consisted of wholesale customers – that is, large contractors, the hardware trade, and developers buying in bulk for resale to homeowners or use in large construction projects.

But after being prompted by then Member of Parliament for the South West St Andrew constituency, Portia Simpson-Miller about the goods being inaccessible to community members who were undergoing construction works, the company introduced a retail space for the small shopper to purchase not only goods manufactured by the company, but also construction finishing materials it distributes.

ARC Manufacturing’s flirtation with retail started out as a tiny space at the complex that grew over time to 5,000 square feet. From this store, the manufacturing giant retails construction materials, fixtures and fittings, tools and accessories.

Through the redevelopment of about four buildings on the 18+ acre property, the project is expected to take the company’s retail store from 5,000 to 24,000 square feet.

The company’s general manager in charge of sales and marketing, Devon Brooks, told the Financial Gleaner that the company is still designing the new space, but expects to incorporate aisles for consumers to browse the products. A separate entrance will also be created for the retail store, with its own parking.

ARC may also decide to introduce new product lines, for example, homeware and small appliances, he said.

“All of the details are still being worked through. But overall, our intention is to create a modern, comfortable space for retail consumers. It is not to cannibalise our existing customers,” said Brooks.

Though the ISO9001:2015 certified company has not disclosed how much it is spending on the new retail store, they are looking to employ at least 20 additional persons at the end of the project, which is expected to be commissioned within a year.

ARC Manufacturing’s core business is the importation of metals which are then processed into finished goods, including wire nails, barbed wire, quarter wire, binding wire, fabric mesh, nails, chain-link fencing, tracks and studs, purlins, circular and industrial zinc, roofing tiles, hurricane straps, and other roofing products.

The company’s distribution portfolio includes all its manufactured products, as well as cement, concrete blocks, structural steel, rebars, merchant bars, plywood, hardboard, cement board, furniture ply, plumbing and electrical supplies, steel plates, paints, furniture lumber, among other retail items.

Published by the Jamaica Gleaner.

ARC Developing New Construction Material Plants

Construction materials company ARC Manufacturing Limited is converting one of the warehouses at its plant on Bell Road in Kingston into factory space prepares to venture into the manufacturing of steel hollow sections and metal pipes.

The two new plants to be developed will share a 30,000-square-foot space, will position the company as the sole manufacturer of hollow sections and metal pipes in Jamaica, and will ultimately give it the muscle it needs to carve market share away from imports, the company indicated this week.

At the core of ARC’s business is the importation of metals which are then processed into finished goods including wire nails, barbed wire, quarter wire, binding wire, fabric mesh, nails, chainlink fencing, tracks and studs, purlins, circular and industrial zinc, roofing tiles, hurricane straps, and other roofing products.

The 12-year-old company currently stands as the sole manufacturer of binding wire in Jamaica. Its distributed line includes all its manufactured products, as well as cement, concrete blocks, structural steel, rebars, merchant bars, plywood, hardboard, cement board, furniture ply, plumbing and electrical supplies, steel plates, paints, furniture lumber, among other retail items.

Outside of being the sole manufacturer of binding wire, the manufacturing giant also operates a lumber treatment plant, which is said to be one of the most modern in the region; as well as a metal slitting plant – the only of its kind in Jamaica.

The company markets its goods to businesses across varying sectors in Jamaica, as well as retails products from a store at its Bell Road plant. Offshore, it does business in the southern United States and Caricom markets, where, outside of Jamaican customers, it will first seek takers for its supplies of steel hollows and metal pipes.

“ARC’s approach to manufacturing is based on there being sufficient business in the domestic market to amortise our investment, as well as our ability to export our surpluses. Our research has confirmed that is sufficient demand for hollow sections and pipe in the domestic market and there are also opportunities,” Chairman of ARC Manufacturing, Norman Horne, told the Financial Gleaner, following a tour of the company’s near 18-acre complex by the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica on Wednesday.

“In the Caribbean, Haiti does some level of conversion of hollow sections, but throughout Caricom there are no manufacturers who are doing this item. We are very excited about the Caribbean, particularly Caricom, and we are also very excited about the possibility of selling to the US given deteriorating relations between that country and China,” Horne said.

Steel hollows, which ARC will produce in square and round shapes, are used as structural material in construction. The section pipes are also used for everyday applications such as vehicle trailers, fences, scaffold and handrails. Metal pipes, on the other hand, are used to transport products, such as oil, gas and water, and are suitable for long-term installations.

ARC Manufacturing has already begun securing equipment for the new plants and will be engaging a specialist from Turkey to construct the facilities. The repurposed building is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

“What we insist on when we bring technical persons from aboard is knowledge transfer; it’s part of the agreement we have. We have appointed a few persons to ensure that when they leave the knowledge stays,” Horne said.

Horne’s plan for the new production plants at Bell Road, which sits on the outskirts of Three Miles in Kingston, is the first of a two-part process to drive revenues up for the company.

The ISO9001:2105 certified company is also in the process of upgrading a 70,000-square foot warehouse on the property — a project that will eventually see the company switching out some of its manual forklift operations for an automated crane system, which will not only increase safety and accuracy in the warehouse, but will also give the company much more room to hold inventory due to a new form of stacking of heavy materials such as steel and timber.

Additionally, they will also install two bridge cranes in the ceiling of the warehouse, each of which has the capacity to lift 10 tonnes to a height of 20 feet, and cover 620 feet in length. The automated crane system, which will replace forklifts, offers the company a more effective way of stacking that utilises the building’s spacing, both in width and height, more efficiently. The crane’s hoist can rotate 360 degrees, which allows for packaging in parallel and perpendicular format, or put more simply, in a box format.

“At the moment, we are only utilising about 40 per cent of the warehouse space because the forklifts need space to traverse and you have to separate your products in a way that makes them accessible to forklifts,” said Horne.

“But with this modern crane we should be able to utilise 90 per cent of the space. What that means is that we will have more than enough room to transfer the materials being stored in the space that we intend to use for the two factories into the new warehouse,” Horne said.

ARC Manufacturing also stores materials at three locations owned and operated by an affiliated company called ARC Properties Limited. But those spaces will be freed up for lease to external parties, once the warehouse upgrade is completed. The improved facility will serve to bring goods stored outside of the plant indoors, while consolidating the internal steel warehouses.

“What I can say is that our aim is to do 1,400 tonnes of the products monthly,” he said.

While the manufacturing and distribution company is moving to automate some of its processes, Horne also said no jobs would be lost. The company is looking instead to add to its workforce.

“We are on a mission to modernise our business as part of our space management concept. The truth is that the way in which we are set up now, it may impact delivery times. So we are focusing on fixing that,” Horne said.

ARC Manufacturing employs about 350 workers full-time, many of whom are from the areas surrounding the Bell Road complex. On completion of the projects, the company expects to have north of 400 people on its payroll.

Published by the Jamaica Gleaner.

ARC Manufacturing Secures ISO Recertification

In 2018, ARC Manufacturing Limited led the pack as the first company in the building materials industry to attain the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2015 certificate of conformity for its comprehensive quality management system (QMS). Now three years later, the company eyes further growth following the renewal of its certification conferred by the National Certification Body of Jamaica (NCBJ).

This new level unlocked reflects the manufacturing giant’s ongoing commitment to quality and continuous improvement to achieve operational excellence in keeping with global standards.

Chairman, Norman Horne described the achievement as another step taken towards creating a world-class organization of repute.  

“This recertification of our quality management system is a clear statement to our stakeholders that we have continuously made real and measurable improvements in our business processes for their benefit.” 

“It is a key element to building a more sustainable business and aligns with our core values by putting our stakeholders’ interests at the heart of everything we do. Therefore, our commitment to quality never ends,” he explained.

With this continued success, the building materials specialist anticipates further growth with plans in sight to expand operations and create new jobs.

“It is an exciting time for us at ARC, as we are undergoing expansion plans to increase our production capacities and diversify our product offerings. This we hope will make a difference in the community by creating new jobs, satisfying the needs of our customers,” he noted. 

ARC is a leading manufacturer and distributor of building materials in Jamaica, specializing in the production of barbed wire, fabric mesh, nails, chain link fencing, tracks & studs, purlins, circular & industrial zinc, roofing tiles, hurricane straps, and other products. They boast one of the most modern lumber treatment facilities in the region, and is the employer of choice for over three hundred (300) individuals, with the majority of its employees residing in the surrounding communities in Kingston and Montego Bay.

Published by OUR Today.

Published by Loop News.

ARC Donates to COVID-19 Field Hospital

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton (third right), cuts the ribbon at the opening of the COVID-19 field hospital on the grounds of the Savanna-La-Mar Public Hospital in Westmoreland on February 2, 2022. Sharing in the occasion [from left] are Dr Suman Vemu, Senior Medical Officer at Savanna-La-Mar Public Hospital, Eric Clarke, Chairman of Western Regional Health Authority, Diane Scott, CEO, Jamaican Medical Cannabis Company Group, Norman Horn, Chairman of Arc Manufacturing and Arc Properties Limited, and Member of Parliament for Central Westmoreland George Wright.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, on Wednesday (February 2), officially opened a field hospital on the grounds of the Savanna-la-Mar Public Hospital in Westmoreland.

The Minister said that the 50-bed capacity facility, which will accommodate coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, will help to ease the pressure on the main hospital.

“The threat of COVID still exists, so the field hospital that we put out here today is a proactive move to manage treatment. Our doctors… our nurses… continue to be on the front lines where they continue to prepare themselves. As a Government and as a region, we appreciate and understand the pressures on this institution here in Westmoreland and the need to expand facilities to provide care to those who need it,” he pointed out.

Construction of the field hospital began last November, with the project costing $35.4 million. It includes a reinforced concrete structure, a weather-haven tent and permanent bathroom facilities.

Minister Tufton said there is potential for the field hospital to be expanded in the future.

Construction of the field hospital was made possible through donations from Chief Executive Officer of Jamaican Medical Cannabis Company Group, Diane Scott, and Chairman of ARC Manufacturing and ARC Properties Limited, Norman Horne.

The Minister commended Chairman of the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Eric Clarke, for his efforts in bringing the project to reality.

During the ceremony, Dr. Tufton also unveiled four mobile clinics, which will go to each of the four regional health authorities across the island.

“The buses have been retrofitted for use in the Ministry of Health’s community COVID-19 vaccination programme and will be able to go into remote rural communities, so persons can get vaccinated,” he said.

Published by the Jamaica Information Service.

Dr Christopher Tufton (left), minister of health and wellness, and Norman Horne, chairman of Arc Manufacturing and Arc Properties Limited, examine furnishings inside the newly opened field hospital on the compound of the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital in Westmoreland on Wednesday. Looking on is Diane Scott, CEO of the Jamaican Medical Cannabis Corporation Group.
Photo by The Jamaica Gleaner.
Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton (right) in discussion with Diane Scott, CEO of Jamaica Medical Cannabis Company group, in one of the ministry’s mobile vaccination buses at Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital last week. Looking on (from second left) are Norman Horne of ARC Manufacturing and ARC Properties Ltd; custos of Westmoreland, Hartley Perrin; and George Wright, Member of Parliament for Westmoreland Central.
Photo by The Jamaica Observer.